Honeymoon with big city living endures
by Gregory Beatty
Where: Sound Stage
Quote: “The key for me is a combination of comfort and layering since I walk and transit a lot. ”
Born and raised in Regina, Ashley has a Fine Arts degree from the University of Regina with a major in painting. Since October 2012 she’s been living in the Centre of the Universe (a.k.a. Toronto). When she was home for a visit recently we met to talk fashion.
What prompted you to move to Toronto?
Ever since I was a young girl I dreamed of living in a large city, so I knew eventually I’d make a big move in my 20s. After completing university I’d been working steadily in the film and television industry as a painter. Once the Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit was cut, like many other artists and technicians, I was forced to decide between moving away or pursuing another line of work in Regina. I chose Toronto as my new home.
How have you found the city so far? What do you do to keep busy?
After being there for a year and a half, I’m still in a glorious honeymoon stage with Toronto. I really love the hustle and bustle, the endless events and concerts, and exploring each of its dynamic neighborhoods. When I’m not busy working long hours in the film industry, I frequent small concert venues to check out local and international bands, shopping and walking around downtown, and trying out new restaurants and pubs.
How does fashion in Toronto compare to here?
In Toronto, for the most part, people are less afraid to experiment with eccentric pieces of clothing and accessories, especially since there’s an abundance of shopping from high end to vintage, and everything in between. In my opinion, Regina’s fashion tends to be more on the casual and sporty side, but you do see a lot of unique clothing choices in the Cathedral and downtown areas. Since I live close to the fashion and art district of Toronto, I notice a lot of trendy boho chic looks: loose fitting fabrics, loud, retro sunglasses, and vintage-inspired footwear. I’ve noticed too that Toronto fashion revolves around designer accessories, such as the staple Michael Kors purse on the femme socialite uptown, or a more casual Herschel backpack on an art student.
How would you describe your style? Has it changed since your move?
I’d describe my style as fairly casual with a bit of an edge — vamp rocker chic with a touch of sweetness, I suppose. I wear a lot of vegan leather and denim. I like to incorporate a delicate knit or lace against more rigid, androgynous fabrics. The key for me is a combination of comfort and layering since I walk and transit a lot around the city. I wouldn’t say my style has changed much, but I am more conscious now of my outfit choices and play with colour and texture more freely. My first job upon arriving in Toronto was at an indie jewellery boutique, so after working there I feel more inclined to accessorize in a more daring way, and dressing up more simple outfits with a statement piece or two.
You’re somewhat petite. Does that pose a challenge when buying clothes?
My height does make shopping a bit difficult, but generally just when I’m looking for pants and jackets. The best thing about the cropped pant trend is that they are usually the perfect full pant length on me!
What’s special for you about this outfit?
This is a screen shot of how you’d see me walking down Toronto’s Queen St. West on a sunny day. It’s casual, comfortable and practical, yet has a bit of an edge with some femininity mixed in. It incorporates my three go-to fabrics — denim, lace, and faux leather. My Steve Madden combat boots are definitely my staple, and I wear them religiously. They are comfortable enough to have taken me miles around the city, and their stone colour goes with pretty much everything. Most of the jewellery I’m wearing was purchased at indie retailers — I’m attracted to gold and brass materials, and antique-looking pieces. But my favorite part of this outfit is my one-of-a-kind ring by Brooklyn designer Bora.